Enforcement Survival School, Part 2:
Tips On Protecting Your Certificate
 »

With so many aviation regulations, so many ways to bend or break them and so many FAA inspectors looking over a pilot's shoulder, it could be just a matter of time before you yes, you are involved in an enforcement action. If and when you are, what can and should you do to try to protect your pilot's certificate? Most importantly, what must you avoid doing if you have any chance of making it through the FAA's enforcement process with any prayer of flying again? In Part Two of this series, a former FAA inspector (Eric Jaderborg) and a practicing aviation attorney (AVweb's Phil Kolczynski) offer advanced tips on protecting your certificate, each from their own unique perspective. More

Enforcement Survival School, Part 1:
Tips On Protecting Your Certificate
 »

With so many aviation regulations, so many ways to bend or break them and so many FAA inspectors looking over a pilot's shoulder, it could be just a matter of time before you yes, you are involved in an enforcement action. If and when you are, what can and should you do to try to protect your pilot's certificate? Most importantly, what must you avoid doing if you have any chance of making it through the FAA's enforcement process with any prayer of flying again? In Part One of a series, a former FAA inspector (Eric Jaderborg) and a practicing aviation attorney (AVweb's Phil Kolczynski) offer advanced tips on protecting your certificate, each from their own unique perspective. More

GARA: A Status Report »

The General Aviation Revitalization Act of 1994 (GARA) immunized makers of GA aircraft against lawsuits for defects in products older than 18 years and is credited along with a strong economy for breathing new life into non-commercial aviation in the U.S. But, if manufacturers are no longer liable, who is? How does GARA work? If you're a pilot, an owner or a parts manufacturer, you may not like the answer. AVweb's Phillip J. Kolczynski answers these and other questions in this GARA status report. More

The "Hoover Dam": Meaningful Review of Emergency Certificate Actions? »

The "Hoover Bill," which allows a certificate holder to obtain interim review of an FAA emergency revocation order by appealing to the National Transportation Safety Board, became law on April 6, 2000. In the first six months since its enactment, none of the 24 applicants for review of an emergency order has successfully obtained a stay. As Hilary Miller, a pilot, aircraft owner and attorney writes, significant questions exist regarding the interpretation of the Hoover Bill by the board and whether Congressional intent has been met. More

A Dangerous New Precedent in FAA Enforcement Law »

Imagine a case where the prosecutor can interpret ambiguous regulations in the middle of the trial and the judge is bound by that prosecutor's interpretation. Even worse, what if the appellate court is also bound to give deference to the Prosecutor's ad hoc interpretations? You say that this cannot happen in the U.S. legal system? What about due process? Guess again, it has happened in the "split-enforcement" regime where the FAA has legal enforcement authority over an airman's certificate, while the NTSB is supposed to act as an appellate adjudicatory authority. AVweb's Phil Kolczynski explains. More

Criminal Liability in Aviation »

In the wake of the criminal indictments against SabreTech, Inc., and three of its employees in the wake of the ValuJet crash, AVweb's aviation law editor Phil Kolczynski takes a look the circumstances in which an aviation professional can have criminal liability, and explains some of the measures available to protect against criminal liability exposure. If you make your living in aviation, you really need to read this. More

Top FAA Lawyers Reach Out to Industry »

In the past, AVweb has characterized the FAA's top lawyers as "out of control" and "an evil empire" within the agency. So when the agency's chief counsel takes steps to improve FAA/industry relations, we think he deserves a pat on the back. That's exactly what happened in May 1999, when Chief Counsel Nick Garaufis convened a two-day "outreach session" in San Diego, attended by top lawyers from FAA headquarters and all regions, as well as aviation attorneys representing various branches of industry, including general aviation, airlines, and manufacturers. While the press was excluded from this session, AVweb did meet with Garaufis and Deputy Chief Counsel James Whitlow afterward to talk about the meeting. We also obtained an industry's-eye view from attendees John and Kathleen Yodice. Here are transcripts of both interviews. More

Protecting Yourself in an Accident Investigation »

You weren't there. It wasn't your fault. Maybe it's not even your airplane. Yet somehow, you find yourself involved in an NTSB accident investigation. Do you know your legal rights, responsibilities, obligations and risks? Should you volunteer to help, or call your lawyer? Brian Finnegan a professional accident reconstructionist who has participated in scores of such investigations offers the knowledge that you need to protect yourself and your certificate, whether you're a pilot, mechanic, or aircraft owner. More

Liability for Homebuilt Aircraft »

While homebuilt aircraft have been the fastest-growing segment of aviation during the 1980s and 1990s, some predict that homebuilt aircraft liability litigation will be a growth industry of the next decade. Accidents like the 1997 Long-EZ crash that killed John Denver raise thorny questions about who's legally liable: the kit manufacturer, amateur builder, or pilot? Can a kit manufacturer or amateur builder escape liability by means of a waiver or disclaimer? Is a homebuilt covered by the GARA 18-year statute of repose? AVweb's aviation law editor Phil Kolczynski sorts through this thicket and offers some concrete suggestions. More

Airlines Exposed to New Liability »

Who is responsible when a steamer trunk falls from an airline's overhead cargo bin onto your noggin, or if a flight attendant douses you with 130-degree coffee? It used to be that airlines could expect the courts to give them a break because of the wording of the Airline Deregulation Act, but now that seems to be changing. A ruling by the 9th Circuit Federal Court of Appeals in November 1998 may signal a shift in how the courts will deal with personal injury claims brought against the airlines. Have the Justices opened Pandora's box with this ruling, and subjected carriers to a costly flood of nuisance lawsuits? AVweb's aviation law expert Phil Kolczynski takes a look at the ruling and its possible ramifications. More